What is the GENECIS Program and Gender Dysphoria?
The GENECIS Program at Children's Health focuses on helping children and teens with issues surrounding gender dysphoria—the distress that may occur when an individual does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Gender dysphoria is frequently associated with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and a very elevated suicide attempt rate at 41 percent. Gender dysphoria also causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
The GENECIS Program recognizes the need for comprehensive care including prescribing puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy when appropriate, to gender non-conforming adolescents. This is recognized as Standard of Care treatment by the Endocrine Society Guidelines for the medical care of transgender adolescents.
The program is heavily rooted in mental health support. The GENECIS team works closely with a number of specialists in psychology, psychiatry, endocrinology, adolescent medicine, gynecology, social work, pastoral care and ethics, to determine the best route for patient care and to provide information and support to meet the medical and emotional needs of patients and their family.
What is the GENECIS Protocol and Evaluation Process?
In order to be a patient in the GENECIS program, one of our social workers will perform a phone intake to determine what your concerns are and to help us know if your child meets the requirements to be a patient in our program.
These requirements include:
- Age 4-17.
- Have an established mental health provider (therapist), if your child does not have one, we will provide the necessary resources.
- A letter from your child’s therapist supporting the diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
Once your child meets these criteria, an assessment by mental health providers will be scheduled. This assessment is a face to face, four-hour meeting with both parents or legal guardians (whenever possible) and your child.
Subsequently, your child’s case will be discussed with our multidisciplinary team to evaluate recommendations regarding starting puberty suppression therapy (puberty blockers), hormone replacement therapy, as well as mental health and social needs. Gender affirming surgery is not performed at Children's Health.
Our multidisciplinary team consists of members with the following specialties: psychology, psychiatry, social work, pediatric endocrinology, adolescent medicine, pediatric gynecology, pastoral care and ethics.
With a suicide attempt rate of up to 60 percent for youth with gender dysphoria, the GENECIS Program recognizes the need for comprehensive care including prescribing puberty blockers, when appropriate, to gender non-conforming adolescents. Prescribing puberty blockers is a standard of care that grants time to gender dysphoric adolescents as they contemplate their long-term gender identity.
The program is also heavily rooted in mental health support. The GENECIS team works closely with a number of specialists in psychology, psychiatry, endocrinology, adolescent medicine, gynecology and social work, to determine the best route for patient care and to provide information and support to meet the medical and emotional needs of patients and their family.